Monday, March 8, 2010

The Great Rivet Debate

It appears that everyone has their own opinion regarding the use of rivets and burrs/roves on a lapstrake craft. Although there is a general consensus that rivets are the go-to fastener for laps, that is where the agreement ends. Here we encounter two different schools of thought: Roves or Rivets. Those who use roves argue that these conical washers compress slightly upon peening the nail, increasing tension on the joint. According to some sources, they are also more traditional on European boats. However, roves are significantly more expensive than their counterparts, and they also leave unsightly lumps on the inside of the craft. Burrs have the advantage of being more streamlined, and, if used properly, can still create a sound joint. A "tight fit" burr allows a tightening of the joint similar to, if not quite as strong as the rove. As we learned from the Woodenboat Forum, some Icelandic boatwrights traditionally use copper coins in the place of burrs. Sounds crazy, but, hey, it works! There are boats still in the water to prove it. Burrs are also much more economical than roves (although not quite as cheap as pennies). So where does this leave us? Each has to make his/her own decision. We have decided, being a little cheap, that we will use burrs. In addition to their inexpensive nature, we are looking to avoid the lumps that roves would cause on the interior of Willy. Any other comments regarding the history and/or adequacy of each of these methods are welcome.

Joe Lap

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